by Charles Goyette: Ron
Paul's Farewell Address, and His Legacy
Having a special
time of year devoted to giving thanks is one of the finest traditions
of the American people. I’ve always believed that blessings counted
multiply. My wife and I make a practice of "doing our gratitude"
every night, reviewing all the things for which we are grateful.
But in addition
to giving thanks, it is important to be clear-eyed and realistic
about the things going on in the world around us.
Let’s be frank.
Over the last generation, Americans have become poorer. Meanwhile,
the Chinese are becoming more-prosperous.
Since the late
1970s, China’s GDP has grown tenfold. But the American story is
best encapsulated in a Milken Institute study.
revealed that, over the course of 40 years (1969–2009), the median
earnings of American men with college degrees fell by 12% in constant
(inflation-adjusted) dollars. For men with only a high-school diploma,
earnings fell a staggering 47%.
heard it said that all life is a state of flux between opposites.
Day becomes night, young becomes old and even the old eventually
become, in many ways, much like infants.
the World Turns
In the wisdom
traditions of the world, such sayings are found as "every high
thing shall be made low," or that yin becomes yang and yang
So maybe we
shouldn’t be surprised that America has become less-free – and,
Maybe it can
simply be chalked up to the natural rhythm of things, the ebb and
flow of life. Or as the old preacher Ecclesiastes (and Pete Seeger
and the Byrds) put it, "To everything there is a season, turn,
And maybe it
shouldn’t be surprising that people in China and much of the rest
of the world have struggled out from under the boot of the state
and, becoming more-free, are also becoming more-prosperous.
be a sad irony – sad for us, anyway – if the outcome of this dynamic
should be that China increasingly embraces free markets and economic
freedom, while the United States continues its downward spiral into
to be the case.
Did This Happen?
remains in the hands of money-printing Keynesians like Ben Bernanke,
while Americans were forced to choose between the two Keynesian
presidential candidates – Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Yet in China,
policy-makers have begun welcoming and listening to a more-sensible
A recent Wall
Street Journal story says that – three years ago when Keynesian
economic interventionism and stimulus spending was all the rage
in Beijing and another predictable asset bubble was building in
China – Zhang Weiying, who teaches at Peking University, was sounding
like Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard and F.A. Hayek and giving
speeches titled "Bury Keynesianism."
the Keynesians stimulus spending failed. The turn of events, says
the Journal, was "a poster child for Mr. Zhang’s Austrian
... the sheer size of the failure suddenly has people paying attention.
‘The Keynesian policy didn’t deliver what it promised,’ [Zhang]
says, so ‘more and more people realize that ... when the government
makes investment [in] something that’s useless, recession will come.’
officials no longer treat Mr. Zhang as a pariah. He reports that
Ministry of Agriculture officials tell him they enjoy reading his
articles. Other ministries and local governments, including in Henan
and Liaoning provinces, invite him to speak.
says that when he recently wrote an article praising the late Austrian
economist Murray Rothbard, the Communist Party secretary of Shanghai
– a fairly high-level apparatchik – told him he liked it."
experience has never delivered what it promised in this country,
either. Not in the Great Depression of the 1930s. Not in the stagflation
of the 1970s. And not now.
approach has, however, produced a debt colossus even as it has trashed
the currency. Not quite what we would have wanted.
has a long way to go on the muddy road to freedom. But it has come
a long way since the reformer Deng Xiaoping started making changes
As for America?
Wisdom with permission of the author.
Best of Charles Goyette